Have you heard of orthodontics before?
‘’Orthos’’ means ‘correct/ straight’; “odont” means ‘tooth’. Orthodontics in lay terms means straightening of teeth. It is a specialty in the field of dentistry which deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of misaligned teeth and jaws. And the dental specialist who major in the area is an Orthodontist. Most people with crooked teeth usually have a bad bite which is known as malocclusion. This kind of bite is seen in protruded teeth which ultimately does not allow the upper and lower teeth to fit properly together.
What are the ultimate problems with crooked teeth?
- They are more difficult to clean and to maintain which makes them prone to having mouth odour, teeth discolouration, tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss.
- Crooked teeth can interfere with chewing thus leading to jaw problems.
- Speech can be affected
- Facial appearance can be unpleasant
If you have any of these features, then you may need braces-
- Misplaced, crowded or blocked out teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that bite deeply into soft part of the mouth.
- Upper and lower Teeth that do not have contact at the back or at the front.
- Mouth breathing and thumb sucking habits.
- Inability to close the lips comfortably.
- Difficulty in chewing.
- Grinding or clenching of teeth.
What are braces?
Braces are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to help straighten or to otherwise assist in aligning the teeth. Use of braces is the commonest way to correct crooked teeth and major bite problems. Many who have seen braces on the teeth think it is for mere fashion, they say things like ‘’what kind of fashion is this? They usually consist of brackets (metal or ceramic) which are cemented onto the tooth surface and connected by wire or rubber bands which are regularly adjusted by the orthodontist. Braces move teeth by applying slow and gradual pressure.
It works on the principle that if you apply slow but active pressure or force on a tooth, it moves by about 1mm distance in 3 months.
Braces care – Do’s and Don’ts
Most people need to wear braces for a minimum of 1 to 2 years. This treatment period can be reduced by following certain precautions as being given below.
It generally takes a while to get used to them in the mouth initially but very soon one even forgets its presence. To give your braces a chance to work effectively one has to follow certain rules
- Keep your teeth clean all the time when wearing braces.
- Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal.
- Brush your teeth with an orthodontic tooth brush and a fluoridated tooth paste at least twice a day.
- Use of dental floss to clean in-between the teeth.
- Use recommended mouthwash regularly.
- Cut your food into bite size pieces and consume them gently.
- There may be a breakage or a bracket may become loose even if you are careful with your braces .Please report to your orthodontist immediately in such situations.
- Keep to all your appointments. Missing periodic adjustments of the braces can prolong your treatment.
- Use a sports guard while playing to avoid injury to your teeth or damage to your appliance.
- Don’t eat hard, sticky and sugary foods. These can damage it, they can cause tooth decay around the brackets and sometimes even stain the teeth permanently. Avoid lollipops, cake, bubble-gum, pop corns & nuts.
- Don’t bite into large or tough foods, instead cut it into smaller pieces.
- Don’t play sports and games without wearing a mouth guard. A mouth guard can protect your teeth and jaws.
- Don’t eat ice cubes, it is the ultimate braces destroyer.
- Don’t snack in between meals and drink sugary and carbonated drinks.
- Don’t hesitate to talk to your orthodontist in case of any concerns, queries or difficulties in adjusting with your braces
Orthodontic treatment cannot be replaced by your regular dental treatment. Hence visit your orthodontist regularly for the best results which will ultimately give you your best smile. And to achieve this best smile take extra care of your braces.
DO YOUR BEST to share this with someone wearing braces or someone having misaligned teeth.